Firm sues Molina for over $175K

ST. LOUIS -- A New York sports marketing firm has sued St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, saying he ignored their agreement to make appearances and sign autographs.

Steiner Sports Marketing's lawsuit, filed Friday in New York, said the sports memorabilia company had a contract with Molina dating to October 2006. It says Steiner paid Molina $90,660 in advance when the contract was renewed in July 2008, but he later refused to attend autograph signings and will not return the money.

Steiner is seeking damages in excess of $175,000. The suit was filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

"He owed us autographs and appearances, but he was not willing to do that," CEO Brandon Steiner said by phone. "He thought he could blow us off."

Molina's agent, Melvin Roman, said Tuesday he would have detailed comments on the lawsuit later in the day.

"We will throw out our side of the story. We haven't done anything wrong," he said.

Steiner, whose company markets athletes, creates collectables and licenses products, said he was disappointed Molina would not fulfill his contractual obligations to make appearances and sign autographs, especially "after we had paid him all the money."

Steiner's attorney, Richard Roth, said his client "asked, pleaded, begged and did everything in its power to get him to sign autographs and he refused."